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Toward Social Justice, Step by Step

Three Villanova Nursing students at a foot care clinic for homeless clients which they run as part of their work with Nursing without Borders.
At a foot care clinic for homeless clients, Nursing sophomore Tiffany Pearson (right) melds her commitments to social justice and patient care. Villanova Nurses Without Borders (VNWB) created this clinic in Philadelphia’s Kensington district. Also taking part were junior Morgan Micari (left) and senior Alexandra Santamaria. For more photos, see Instagram @villanovanursingwithoutborders.

Sophomore Tiffany Pearson, a Presidential Scholar with triple minors in Global Health, Peace and Justice, and Honors, vividly remembers one of the most defining moments in her journey to nursing. “I was interning at a local ER through my high school’s clinical rotations program and a patient came in for alcohol detoxification, becoming fearful, overwhelmed and ashamed,” she recalls. Pearson’s purpose became clear when she felt “an instinctive need to alleviate her suffering and to be there for the patient.”

Fascinated by the science of nursing even as a young child, Pearson says the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing has given her the opportunity to explore the intersection of her passions for nursing and social justice. As an executive board member of Villanova Nursing Without Borders, she can provide care, health education and advocacy for vulnerable populations. She also gains an opportunity to learn about pressing social justice issues, such as housing and food insecurity and psychological trauma due to violence and other experiences, and how that trauma impedes the ability to pursue a healthy life.

The sophomore’s involvement in the College’s Center for Global and Public Health and Villanova’s Center for Peace and Justice Education furthers her knowledge of the many forms of social inequality and marginalization. That has re-ignited her commitment to bettering not just her patients but society as a whole.

Pearson has worked as a research assistant for Jennifer Yost ’00 BSN, PhD, RN, associate professor. Dr. Yost’s study, “Making Decisions in Healthcare,” addressed the conducting of redundant research, which she points out is unethical, limits available funding for critical research and diminishes the public’s trust in research.

Pearson keeps a laser focus on her goals: to combine her passions for humanitarian nursing and critical care/emergency nursing and eventually pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.